At 6 AM on a track, I met my colleagues for the first time. Of course, I had never met colleagues this way before the pandemic. Now all initial interactions and meetings have taken place remotely and on screen in our newly virtual world.
And so, it was in the dark on a cool morning, beneath the glow of floodlights on a 400-meter track in Charlestown, Massachusetts, that I first said a masked “hello” to fellow Boston Trust Walden employees, and we ran together.
As a firm, Boston Trust Walden prizes its team orientation and principled approach to investing. The people of Boston Trust Walden, across myriad areas of the firm, also prize and embrace a love for athletics and running as a common bond. As a relatively new employee to the firm, I witnessed this shared passion for running and corporate camaraderie directly for the first time in person on—of all places—the Charlestown track.
Pre-pandemic, the odds of meeting colleagues on a track for the first time were probably low. Given the circumstances though, one morning in the fall of 2020 I found myself among five Boston Trust Walden runners doing speed work together. Although I had been at the firm for nearly three months, I still felt as though I was meeting these colleagues for the first time. Yes, we had met each other on screen, exchanged emails, and shared thoughts in one-on-one and team meetings, but this was different. This was experiencing people with whom you had worked on screen now in person working together towards a shared goal of strengthening our conditioning while supporting each other through teambuilding.
A few weeks later, I took part in a virtual Boston Trust Walden run, logging into a 5:30 AM video call and then heading out for a run while colleagues did the same. We then shared some memories afterward of our experience. Our Chief Client Officer Heidi Vanni appropriately called these sessions, “Running Apart, Together.” I have also logged steps and wall sits with different cohorts to motivate each other through various fitness challenges.
Why would a principled investment firm have so many fitness aficionados? What does it mean for a firm to have among its ranks: a runner who just completed a 100-miler over a weekend and then reported back into work that Monday; another who ran a casual 50-kilometer with friends one weekend; a Boston marathoner who pushed his son in a stroller to complete a virtual marathon; several people who run and walk in various events throughout the year, including a group that races together at Thompson Island annually for charity; and others that participate in step challenges that have made Boston Trust Walden one of the top scorers among regional firms?
To me, it suggests kinship, love of sport, and a recognition that even in a pandemic, we move forward.
We take a similar approach to investing: practice, work together, and keep pushing forward. Principled investing and fitness go hand in hand perhaps because both tap similar reservoirs of passion, discipline, patience, strength, and teamwork.
Amidst a year that has witnessed its share of turbulence, fitness has united us. And Boston Trust Walden, among its various attributes, brings together people from disparate backgrounds in shared passion and patient pursuit of putting one foot in front of the other.